California minimum wage hike would boost pay for more than 1 million full-time workers

Published: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 - 5:15 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014 - 11:16 am

The state legislature on Thursday voted to raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10 an hour -a change that would affect about 1.5 million full-time, year-round California workers, according to a Bee review of U.S. Census data. That's about 14 percent of the state's full-time workforce.

These workers are ...

Not just teenagers: Close to 900,000 full-time California workers over 30 earned less than $20,800 in 2011 - the equivalent of earning less than $10 an hour. Roughly 80,000 Californians over 60 earned less than $10 an hour in 2011.

Mostly Hispanic: Almost two-thirds of California full-time workers earning less than $10 an hour in 2011 were Hispanic, even though Hispanics make up about 40 percent of the state's population. A significant portion were agricultural workers.

Mostly without college experience: More than a third of California's full-time workers earning less than $10 an hour do not have a high school diploma. Another third have no college experience. Only about 10 percent have a high school degree.

Often barely getting by: Most low-wage workers rent their homes. Experts advise to keep rental costs below one third of income. About one-quarter spend more than half of their household income on rent. Another quarter spend more than a third of their income on rent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata via the University of Minnesota Population Center.
Note: Included are Californians working at least 40 hours per week, year-round and earning less than $20,800 in 2011.

Read more articles by Phillip Reese

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